A marionette puppet, to be exact. We have figured out the problem of my hips. The first problem is the original one, that my hip flexors are a mass of scar tissue and the ball joint doesn't quite fit in the socket properly. But the other problem is perhaps the cause of the major discomfort. The other problem is that I have separated abdominal muscles from back when I was pregnant. Yes, from almost 6 years ago! How is it that nobody in the last six years mentioned this could be a problem? How is it that my midwife, the doctor that did the emergency C-Section, the trainer at the gym (I have tried personal training THREE TIMES AND NOBODY EVEN MENTIONED THIS) , they all missed this!
So, for the last six years I've been doing crunches and Pilates 100's and every exercise I can think of to make my stomach flatter and harder and it hasn't worked. In fact, come to find out, all these exercises have made my abdominal separation worse! ARGH!!
When I think about the problems I've been having with riding (and other activities) the separated abs make sense. It's no wonder I can't be effective in the saddle, I have NO CORE. None. Zero. Zip. So, without the support of that whole 'pelvic girdle' area (where your transverse abs are and where you would feel it if you did Kegels....) my hips are free to just flop around like a marionette puppet, which leads to the tendons getting pulled and yanked and stretched. Yow!
So, my new workout plan consists of doing only transverse abdominal workouts and Kegels. I'm doing lots of pelvic tilts and tiny squeezes to try and bring those ab muscles back together. Since it's been six years, it may take a while. I'm lucky that the separation is only about 2 inches. It could have been much worse considering my baby was a whopper (9.8lbs). The hardest part is that it's actually not that easy to work the transverse abs because they are a secondary muscle. So whenever you try to work them (by bringing your belly button towards your back) you usually end up tightening your obliques first. My PT says that the obliques are the 'louder muscle' and that you really have to concentrate to hear (feel) the quieter transverse abs.
At least I now know what it is and I feel like there's a great chance for recover. I have to stay away from any 'open chain' exercises. No yoga. No stretching. No crunches. No horseback riding (oh.....hahahahahhaaha......I totally ignore this one. This is not going to happen. There will be horseback riding and my PT can suck it.) No Pilates.
I am someone who likes to do 'active' workouts instead of 'static' workouts, so it's really hard to feel like I'm accomplishing anything sitting in a chair tightening my transverse abs and my pelvic floor. If anyone has any experience with separated abs, I'd love to know ANY exercises that are effective!!